Rolling out n0tice

It wasn’t until we stumbled onto the name that I started paying closer attention to noticeboards.

You probably see them around you, too, now and again, and you probably read 1 or 2 things that catch your eye.  But you probably don’t think much about them.

It’s because you don’t have to.  They just work.  Like magic.  Everyone just knows what they’re for and how to use them.

In the 1980’s and 90’s the dial-up online bulletin board systems or BBS’s made the noticeboard concept come alive in the digital space based on what technology was available at the time.  Email enabled mailing lists that acted like noticeboards.  And, of course, the web and Netscape made browsable noticeboards possible in digital space, such as Craigslist.
But few models for community noticeboards have taken off in a social-local-mobile world, so far.

Now, I don’t count Facebook because I don’t think most people in a local community know each other well enough personally to connect on Facebook, nor do they intend to.  Location can be a great starting point for social activity in ways that your known contacts can’t provide.

We may or may not have the answer to the new digital noticeboard with n0tice, but I think we’ve made something pretty fun in that space.

The past month we’ve been inviting people to join us on the platform, as we release new features and experiment with this theme.

The release today is a big one for us.  We’ve added the ability to create your own n0ticeboard.

You can customize branding, look and feel, and subdomain.  We’ll also give you options to customize the content using some filters like following people, tags and locations, though that feature is still being developed.  The read API (RSS/JSON) will be exposed soon, too.

What started as a hack day project became a prototype which was rebuilt as a real community platform that you can see today.

We’re keeping it somewhat limited to invite-only access still or ‘Private Beta’ status.

Two people have been intimately involved in launching n0tice – Daniel Levitt and Sarah Hartley.  Daniel has worked with the Guardian’s Open Platform in the past developing both the Recipe Search and the WordPress Plugin.  Sarah is an experienced community strategist having launched the Guardian Local project and several other hyperlocal initiatives over the years.

We’ve also benefitted from the contributions of several others such as Tony McCrae who setup the backend systems, Andrew Travers who tightened the user experience, the prototype testers notably Nigel Barlow and Will Perrin, and the members of the n0tice Google Group who share their ideas with us.

These people have all shaped it into something very powerful.  In many ways they’ve created a new kind of social platform, or a really really old one reinvented for the new world.

If we can make citizen journalism possible in more contexts for more communities then I think we will have done a good thing.  If we can also make citizen journalism a financially sustainable activity then we will have done a great thing.

As we go along we are increasingly unsure of what happens next.  Participants are starting to determine what we do more and more.  So, if you want this platform to do something, please get in early and share your thoughts with us.

8 thoughts on “Rolling out n0tice”

  1. hi matt – you sarah and the team have done a grand job. will be fascinating to see what place this takes in the hyperlocal landscape. If i were nokia i’d buy you instantly. but you might not want to be bought by them

    I don’t do code-stuff – when you say read api do you mean RSS-inbound. i’ve discussed with sarah – that would be so important for people who run local sites and don’t have time to re post stuff manually. natch you’d want to prevent abuse but it would make a huge difference to me

  2. Thanks, Will. Your support means a lot to me and the team.

    Yes. We were mucking around with the API the other day and came up with a nice way to post directly and automatically to WordPress. We have more work to do on that front before we can expose it for everyone, but there will be all kinds of interesting ways to flow stuff in and out of n0tice. It’s a core premise of the platform.

  3. Wow, this is the same idea I had recently. I made a community messageboard page for my city on Facebook, motivated by much of what seems to be inspiring you with nOtice. Unfortunately the page format is pretty inflexible and, while an easy thing to set up, doesn’t offer nearly close to the same potential as a dedicated platform. Honestly I just wish I was working on this too! It’s a great idea!

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